04/07/2009, 00.00
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Dubai launching women-only bus service

The public transportation service will begin next April 10. At first, only seven vehicles will be used, but the service will be expanded over time. Enthusiastic comments from women, who hope for "pink" drivers.

Dubai (AsiaNews) - After inventing pink taxis and air-conditioned bus shelters, Dubai is becoming the first Gulf city to institute public transportation service for women only. The story comes from the newspaper GulfNews, which includes in its article the enthusiastic comments of many female readers.

"The ladies-only bus service will start on April 10 to accommodate the increasing number of female passengers," says Mohammad Abu Bakr Al Hashimi, director of Planning and Business Development at the Public Transport Agency of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Seven buses will be provided, following a single route along the main points of the city. The service will be active from 6:30 to 9 a.m., and from 4 to 8 p.m. The official promises that the routes will be expanded over time. "We will introduce more buses and more routes after studying the response on this one route," Al Hashimi says. The vehicles will display the sign "women only," and the route will be called "L55." If the service works, it will be entrusted to "female drivers."

"I've been waiting for this kind of service," says Cha. "This is truly convenient for us because we don't have to compete with the men and there are ample seats for ladies." "This service will encourage ladies to use the buses," says M. Alibapu; for Vilma, who has used public transportation for years, it is a "great idea," because on the traditional vehicles there are "only 12 seats allocated for women." Satheesh Vasudevan, from Ajman, says that "double-decker buses" are not necessary, but only "mini buses or normal-sized vehicles"; Nikita appreciates the idea because often on the public vehicles, some of the men are "unruly."

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